Ishka Villacisneros-Tusjakova is a 27-year-old Filipina migrant who lives in Los Angeles, California. She created a website called Californila.com (formerly Stuff2Shop) – “a Personal Shopper and Shipper” site that been very popular with Pinoys who love imported goods.”
What was her inspiration? Shopping.
Specifically, she enjoyed the products and the shopping experience offered in the United States. It didn’t take too long before her relatives and friends to asked her to purchase items and commodities from American retailers in their stead. She happily took this opportunity to answer their “nakikisuyo”, “pabili”, and “padala” requests.
Ishka then realized how profitable this service was to other Filipinos looking to purchase items from the States.
“My friends and relatives were the ones who asked me for the ‘personal shopper fee’ because they realize there are expenses such as time, gas and shipping. That’s when I started the ‘Personal Shopper and Shipper’ service,” Ishka says.
At first, she conducted her business through Multiply, but decided to make her own website after discovering limitations her Multiply platform had. Ishka had a Bachelor of Science in Information and Communications Technology Management graduate from De La Salle University. She made her own website instead.
When Californila.com was first starting out, they were receiving 5 to 10 product orders per month. Now they have around 5,000 to 8,000 orders a month and ship via SeaCargo and Air Cargo almost every day.
She did it all on her own, with only $50 she had earned.
With the money she makes, Iska can afford sportscars and her own house in L.A. She’s even employed her grandmother and other people from her community to help her out in her ever-growing business.
According to Ishka, “My business is a reflection of who I am. Handling my own business feels like I’m in my own playground. If you actually visit one of our offices, you’ll see a fun working environment where employees would consider it a place to work and play.”
She said, “If you’re looking to start your business, start it when you’re young so you’ll have more energy and motivation, more time to learn from your mistakes, you have fewer responsibilities, fewer commitments and much more time to make up for any losses you’ll incur.”